Interview with Jorg Maas

Jorg Maas of German Foundation for World Population shared with Russia Today his views about the problems of the poorest countries in context of G8 summits.

Russia Today: Going to the issue of funding and debt relief in 2005 the Gleneagles summit promised much but do you feel it failed to deliver?

Jorg Maas: We are agreed that Africa and Asia reassess have been put so high at Gleneagles and we hoped that two years later we will see much more progress than we've actually seen. At the moment we see that in 2005 the Global Development Assistance was extremely high but in 2006 we fell short by $US 5 BLN of more than $US 70 BLN actually being promised. We hoped and are still hoping that in Heiligendamm there will be the next turning point to put more flesh to the bones, to put more money on the table to fight HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and to increase development assistance for the countries in Africa and Asia.

RT: You seem remarkably upbeat about this G8 summit. No qualms about true promises as opposed to empty promises?

J.M.: I'm a little ambivalent at the moment. On the one hand Chancellor Merkel last week committed the German government to an additional US$750 MLN a year to increase ODA which is increase of 14%. Never before has a German Chancellor spoken so openly and committedly about HIV/AIDS and Africa. That is a good thing. The bad thing is that we heard for the last couple of days and weeks that some of the governments like the U.S., maybe France or the U.K. are not willing to live up to the promises to increase their budgets. This is pretty sad because every year we see about 4 million infections of HIV/AIDS particularly in Africa. It is time to act and to allocate more funding. Time for resolutions and nice statements is over.

RT: What are you looking at if you do not get what you want out of that G8 summit. Something in terms of human figures. We can talk about money but it obviously relates to people and developing countries and how they can lead themselves out of poverty.

J.M.: I have already mentioned new infections of HIV/AIDS which is about 40 million people are already living with HIV/AIDS. Most of them are young people living in Africa. We would need about $US18 BLN to prevent HIV/AIDS, to buy condoms and to put the people on treatment. But at the moment we only have $US 7.9 BLN available worldwide. That means that about 5 million people will die within next 5 years because they do not have access to treatment. If one looks at family planning and other issues like malaria, tuberculosis it is equally disastrous. Not allocating funds at this meeting in Heiligendamm means that a lot of people will die much earlier or very soon.